Believe it or not, it’s time to get out and get some garden work done. I did last weekend when it was in the 60s. It felt so good to get outside after a long winter.
It’s time to focus on the perennial garden and any plants that you left for winter interest or simply didn’t get around to cutting back the foliage. This is what I worked on in my beds.
One caution, however, before you work in the flower beds this time of the year; don’t work in the beds when the soils are wet. If you must work in your flower beds, minimize the amount of walking around in the actual bed.
It was pretty wet last Sunday after the snow melted and I really tried to stay out of the bed as much as possible.
Walking on wet soils simply compacts the soil. It eliminates air spaces that you worked really hard to create when you prepared the beds by adding organic matter. It also makes it very challenging for roots to grow.
So despite your anxiousness to get out into the garden this time of the year, don’t make more work for yourself by working in wet soil.
I noticed that many of the early spring perennials were beginning to show spring growth, which means that any leftover old growth should be removed.
I took the old foliage off of my hellebores in order for the new foliage and blooms to show off. However, I also noticed that my blooms had turned to mush.
Apparently they came out just enough a little earlier this year and were tender, just at the same time the temperatures dropped. Normally hellebores are winter hardy and bloom in February and March, but mine had bad timing.
Other early emerging perennials include primrose (they are getting ready to bloom, so I took the old foliage off), lamb’s ears and sedum.
The lamb’s ears should be cut back now; remove all of the old foliage and clean out the bed in order to let the new growth emerge fully.
Try to cut the sedum back as soon as possible, because the longer you wait, the more new season’s growth you have to worry about cutting around.
It’s also time to cut back the ornamental grasses that you left up for the winter. Most of them are past their prime appearance now anyway.
If you are going to divide the ornamental grasses, you can also do this now. Be sure you get someone big and strong to help. Ornamental grasses are one of the toughest perennials to divide.
You can also begin dividing your other summer and fall-blooming perennial any time between now and when they begin to emerge from the ground.
I usually wait until the first of April to cut my roses back. We could still get a drastic drop in temperature that would damage the wood of a fresh cut.